New sunscreen developed at OSU to prevent sun-induced aging

OSU researchers find new use for meadowfoam by-product. Photo by Audrey Weil.

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Researchers at Oregon State University discovered what could be the first natural compound that acts as a sunscreen and prevents sun-induced aging.

It's a by-product that comes from meadowfoam when it's processed into oil for cosmetics.

That leftover material is called seed meal, and it's now the center point of Arup and Gitali Indra's research at OSU. They're looking at the effect of seed meal on skin cells exposed to UVB rays.

UVB rays are the ones that give you a sunburn and lead to skin cancer.

They found that the skin shows fewer sun-damaged cells in slides that include the meadowfoam seed meal. Not only does the compound prevent UVB damage, it can also prevent sun-induced aging.

Their discovery comes at a time when they say skin cancer is on the rise around the world and Oregon continues to have some of the highest rates in the country of melanoma.

"Overall there is an imminent need to actually take care of how to protect our skin in a better way," Indra said.

The hope is their findings will one day become an over the counter product.

"I think so. I think we are certainly very excited," Indra said.

And an all natural, Oregon-grown and Oregon-discovered product, at that.

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